|HOW DOES TOAD-CHARGE™ WORK? The TOAD-CHARGE™
kit connects between your motorhome and dinghy vehicle, using the
motohome's 12 volt electrical system to supply charging current to
your dinghy vehicle's battery. The kit supplies whatever amount of
current your dinghy vehicle battery needs to keep it charged (up to a
maximum of 10 continuous amps). This current is available whenever
the motorhome engine is running.
WILL TOAD-CHARGE™ WORK WITH MY PARTICULAR BRAND OF MOTORHOME AND DINGHY VEHICLE? Yes, the kit is designed for universal installation, and works with ALL motorhomes and dinghy vehicles equipped with 12 volt electrical systems.
WILL TOAD-CHARGE™ OVERCHARGE MY DINGHY VEHICLE'S BATTERY?
No, the Charge Controller supplies only the amount of current being
demanded by your dinghy battery to keep it charged. Up to 10 amps of
charging current is available, but just a
fraction of that amount is typically supplied (depending on how much current is being drawn
by the ignition/accessory switch, dashboard lights, supplemental braking system,
HOW EASY IS IT TO DISCONNECT TOAD-CHARGE™ FROM MY DINGHY VEHICLE WHEN I'M NOT TOWING IT?
Although the kit is installed permanently, it has plug-in connectors at the
back of the motorhome, at the front of the dinghy vehicle, and on both
ends of the tow bar. This allows the tow bar to be completely removed
and stowed, or left attached to either the motorhome or dinghy vehicle
when not in use. The kit also comes with a snap-on dust cap for every connector to protect them when they aren't in use.
DOES THE TOAD-CHARGE™ KIT ALSO WORK WITH GELL-CELL OR AGM BATTERIES? Yes, TOAD-CHARGE™ works with all lead-acid battery chemistries - Gell-Cell, AGM and conventional Flooded-Cell.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I START EITHER VEHICLE WHILE TOAD-CHARGE™ IS CONNECTED?
The Charge Controller prevents your motorhome from supplying excessive
current through the wire harness when you start the dinghy vehicle's
engine. Similarly, the Charge Controller will not allow any current to
flow from the dinghy back to the motorhome, thereby preventing
excessive current draw when you start the motorhome engine.
ON MY DINGHY VEHICLE, THE BATTERY IS NOT LOCATED IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT. CAN I STILL INSTALL TOAD-CHARGE™?
Yes, the Charge Controller is still installed in the engine
compartment, but is connected to the Jump-Start terminals in your
engine compartment, rather than directly to the posts on the battery.
CAN I CONNECT THE TOAD-CHARGE™ KIT TO MY MOTORHOME'S HOUSE BATTERIES INSTEAD?
Yes, this approach has the advantage of allowing you to charge your
dinghy vehicle overnight, using AC shore power and your motorhome's DC
power converter or inverter/charger to supply the charging current.
As soon as the motorhome engine is started, its electrical system takes
over the process, continuing to supply charging current to the dinghy
vehicle. The installation instructions describe
how to connect the kit in this manner.
WHY CAN'T I INSTALL THE CHARGE CONTROLLER IN MY MOTORHOME, RATHER THAN MY DINGHY VEHICLE?
The Controller measures your dinghy battery voltage. This measurement is
only accurate when the Controller is located near the dinghy battery
(i.e., within several feet). Locating it at the motorhome end of the
wire harness instead can introduce enough measurement error to make Controller operation unreliable.
MY BUS CONVERSION HAS A 24 VOLT ELECTRICAL SYSTEM. WILL TOAD-CHARGE™ WORK WITH IT? On 24 volt buses equipped with a 12 volt house battery bank, TOAD-CHARGE™ usually can be connected to the 12 volt house batteries (provided
they receive a charge from the engine while the bus is being driven).
It can NOT be connected directly to a 24 volt electrical system.
WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS? Click HERE.
WHAT TOOLS ARE NEEDED TO INSTALL THE TOAD-CHARGE™ KIT? You'll need:
power drill and 1/8" drill bit to drill the mounting holes for the
charge controller and circuit breaker (unless you decide to use
zip-ties to secure them instead),
(2.) a #2 Phillips screwdriver to mount the Charge Controller and circuit breaker (not needed when mounting with zip-ties),
(3.) wire cutters to cut the wire harness to desired length,
(4.) a 1/8" slotted screwdriver to attach the harness wires to the connectors,
(5.) a 11/32" nutdriver or socket to connect the wire harness to the circuit breaker,
(6.) wire strippers or a knife to remove the insulation from the wire harness ends,
(7.) a crimp tool for crimping the ring terminals on the motorhome wire harness and dinghy Charge Controller, and
(8.) a heat gun for installing the heat-shrink sleeves over the
connnectors. (NOTE: Although using a heat gun gives the best results, a
small butane torch or lighter can be used instead).
I WANT TO TOW A SECOND DINGHY VEHICLE BEHIND MY MOTOR HOME - CAN I BUY JUST THE TOAD-CHARGE™ PARTS THAT INSTALL ON THE DINGHY VEHICLE? Yes, a "2nd Dinghy Vehicle Kit" is available for $78.95, plus $5.95 shipping. Click HERE to order it.
CAN I USE MY MOTORHOME'S EXISTING REAR HITCH CONNECTOR, INSTEAD OF YOUR CONNECTORS AND MOTORHOME WIRE HARNESS? Yes, a "Dinghy Kit Without Connectors" is available separately (see below) for this purpose, and contains only
the parts that install in the dinghy vehicle (i.e., Charge Controllerr,
nylon wire ties, battery terminal connectors, mounting screws, etc.) -
You simply connect it to your motorhome's existing hitch connector and
tow bar interconnecting cable. However, your existing wiring and hitch connector must be adequate for supplying up to 10 amps to the TOAD-CHARGE™ Charge Controller, plus any other dinghy vehicle loads (i.e., transmission lube pump, supplemental braking system, etc.).
Note that the motorhome wire harness included in our complete TOAD-CHARGE™
kit includes a dedicated ground wire and connector pin, in order to
avoid the combined voltage drops from the dinghy's running lights, lube
pump, supplemental braking system and TOAD-CHARGE™
Charge Controller. If you use your existing motorhome wiring and
connector instead, this important advantage may be lost. Also, note
that an adequate circuit breaker or fuse MUST be present on your
existing motorhome power wire - Without it, a fire hazard exists in the
event of a wiring fault. If this protection isn't already present in
your motorhome's wiring, please consider installing the 15 Amp Waterproof Circuit
Breaker (available below).
TOAD-CHARGE™ Dinghy Kit Without Connectors (includes Charge Controller & dinghy mounting hardware) @ $78.95 + $5.95 shipping: Click HERE to order.
TOAD-CHARGE™ 15 Amp Waterproof Circuit Breaker @ $12.95 (free shipping when ordered with Dinghy Kit): Click HERE to order.
DOES THE 15 AMP CIRCUIT BREAKER NEED TO BE INSTALLED NEAR MY MOTORHOME BATTERIES?
It needs to be installed as close to the battery end of the motorhome
wire harness as possible. This ensures that the entire length of the
harness is protected against short circuits and overcurrent. Installing
it at some midpoint in the harness (or at the motorhome hitch
connector) defeats this important protective feature, and is NOT
HOW DO I MAKE IT EASIER TO INSERT THE BARE HARNESS WIRE ENDS INTO THE CONNECTORS? Hold
the connector so that its 2 screw heads are facing up while inserting
the wires. This position uses gravity to make the wire clamps inside
the connector fall to the bottom, providing maximum room for inserting
AFTER I'VE INSTALLED THE TOAD-CHARGE™ KIT, HOW DO I KNOW THAT IT'S WORKING? After
plugging in the tow bar and motorhome connectors, plug in the dinghy
vehicle connector while observing the Charger Controller's
lights - The green POWER light will immediately illuminate to confirm
that the Controller is receiving power from the motorhome. When the
motorhome engine is running, the yellow
CHARGING light should be illuminated to confirm that the motorhome is
producing sufficient voltage to charge the dinghy battery. If the CHARGING light is not illuminated, the dinghy vehicle will not receive a charge.
AFTER I UNPLUG MY DINGHY FROM MY MOTORHOME, WHY DO THE CHARGING OR POWER LIGHTS STILL REMAIN ON? The
Charge Controller only measures the DC voltage coming from the motorhome
every several minutes. So, the lights will remain on until the next
time the Regulator makes this measurement.
I INSTALLED MY KIT, I CONNECTED IT TO MY MOTORHOME'S HOUSE BATTERIES,
RATHER THAN THE STARTING BATTERY. WHY ISN'T IT KEEPING MY DINGHY
On most motorhomes, the house batteries receive their charging current
from the engine alternator through a battery isolator relay. Often, the
contacts on this relay go bad, preventing any current flow.
Consequently, the TOAD-CHARGE kit slowly discharges the house batteries
as the motorhome is being driven, until battery voltage drops down to
the Charge Controller's disconnect voltage - at which point the dinghy
battery receives no charge.
Typically, failure of the battery isolator relay goes unnoticed,
because your house battery charger still recharges the house batteries
as soon as you hook up to AC shore power.
MY MOTORHOME IS RUNNING AND PLUGGED INTO MY DINGHY, WHY DOES THE YELLOW
"CHARGING" LIGHT ON THE CHARGE REGULATOR BLINK ON AND OFF?
Typically, this indicates a poor electrical connection somewhere
between the motorhome battery and the Charge Controller. Essentially,
the Controller measures adequate DC voltage coming from the motorhome to
connect the dinghy battery - at which point the dinghy battery draws
enough current to cause excessive voltage drop through the poor
connection - which in turn causes the Controller to disconnect. With the
dinghy now disconnected, the motorhome voltage rises again, and the
entire cycle repeats.
Check for poor connections at the Charge Controller terminals and hitch
connectors, and for loose crimps on the ring terminals at the circuit
breaker and motorhome battery.
WHY ARE THE CHARGE CONTROLLER'S GREEN "POWER" AND YELLOW "CHARGING" LIGHTS BLINKING ALTERNATELY?
This indicates that the Controller isn't measuring any DC voltage at all
coming from the dinghy battery, and is usually caused by a poor
connection between the regulator and dinghy battery terminals. Also,
check to see if you have accidentally swapped the Controller's motorhome
and dinghy battery connections.
I DON'T HAVE A HEAT GUN TO INSTALL THE HEAT-SHRINK SLEEVES OVER THE CONNECTORS. WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD? A
small butane torch or lighter works OK, if you take care to apply the
heat gently and slowly. Appying too much heat (or applying it too fast)
may scorch the sleeve or harness wire insulation.
If using a heat gun, select the "LOW" heat setting (approx. 750 watts).
You can't use a hair dryer - It doesn't produce high enough temperatures to shrink the sleeving.
(NOTE: Harbor Freight Tools has a heat gun on sale for around $10 just about every week - Makes a good investment for other RV and household chores, too.)
CAN I BUY SPARE CONNECTORS AND DUST CAPS? Yes,
a "Spare Connector/Dust Cap Kit" is available for $16.95 (free
shipping). It includes 2 Male and 2 Female connectors, 4 vinyl dust
caps with bead chain lanyards, and enough shrink sleeving for all 4
connectors. Click HERE to order it.
CAN I USE THE NEW DUST CAPS AND HEAT-SHRINKABLE SLEEVING ON MY EXISTING TOAD-CHARGE CONNECTORS? Yes,
the sleeves and dust caps will fit any a TOAD-CHARGE kit that uses the
green 2-pin connectors. A "Dust Cap/Sleeving Kit" is available for
shipping). It includes 4 dust caps with bead chain lanyards, and enough
sleeving for all 4 of your TOAD-CHARGE connectors. Click HERE to order it.
HOW DO I TROUBLE-SHOOT PROBLEMS WITH THE KIT? Most problems can be resolved by observing the indicator lights on the Charge Controller:
SYMPTOM - Yellow CHARGING light randomly turns on and off when dinghy & motorhome are connected:
Check for loose wire crimp connections on the ring terminals at the
motor home battery and 15 Amp Circuit Breaker, and for loose wire
screws on the Charge
Controller, dinghy vehicle battery posts, and all plug-in connectors on the wire harness.
SYMPTOM - No yellow CHARGING light when motorhome engine is running:
Check to see if motorhome starting and/or house batteries are heavily
discharged - Since first priority is given to recharging these
batteries, the voltage produced by the motorhome engine may not be high
enough to turn on the Charge Controller until these other batteries
have had a chance to accept some charge.
Also, if the kit is connected to your house batteries, confirm that the
Battery Isolator on your motorhome is working - Otherwise, your house
battery voltage will eventually fall below the Charge Controller's 12.6
volt minimum turn-off voltage, and your dinghy battery will no longer
be receiving a charge while under way. (NOTE: Battery Isolators tend to
be failure-prone - They are a very common cause of problems).
SYMPTOM - Yellow CHARGING and green POWER lights are alternately flashing:
Indicates that the Charge Controller is not connected to the dinghy
vehicle battery. Check for loose connections on the Charge Controller
and dinghy battery cable bolts.
SYMPTOM - Red ! light is on:
Indicates reverse polarity (incorrect installation). Check for reversed
wire connections at the motor home battery posts, all 4 plug-in
connectors, the Charge Controller terminals, and the dinghy battery
SYMPTOM - Red Low Bat. light is on, and Charge Controller is beeping:
Indicates that the dinghy battery voltage is dangerously low (less than
10 volts). Check for unplugged connectors or loose wires at all
connectors between motorhome battery and Charge Regulator.